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Archive for February, 2011

“Yea…that we shall see the great Head of the Church once more . . . raise up unto Himself certain young men whom He may use in this glorious employ. And what manner of men will they be? Men mighty in the Scriptures, their lives dominated by a sense of the greatness, the majesty and holiness of God, and their minds and hearts aglow with the great truths of the doctrines of grace. They will be men who have learned what it is to die to self, to human aims and personal ambitions; men who are willing to be ‘fools for Christ’s sake’, who will bear reproach and falsehood, who will labor and suffer, and whose supreme desire will be, not to gain earth’s accolades, but to win the Master’s approbation when they appear before His awesome judgment seat. They will be men who will preach with broken hearts and tear-filled eyes, and upon whose ministries God will grant an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit, and who will witness ‘signs and wonders following’ in the transformation of multitudes of human lives.”

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Jonathan Edwards preached another famous sermon that can be viewed as a sequel of sorts to Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. He titled the sermon Men Naturally God’s Enemies. If I can presume to improve Edward’s title, I would suggest instead “God in the Hands of Angry Sinners.”

If we are unconverted, one thing is absolutely certain: We hate God. The Bible is unambiguous about this point. We are God’s enemies. We are inwardly sworn to His ultimate destruction. It is as natural for us to hate God as it is for rain to moisten the earth when it falls. Now our annoyance may turn to outrage. We heartily disavow what I have written. We are quite willing to acknowledge that we are sinners. We are quick to admit that we do not love God as much as we ought. But who among us will admit to hating God?

Romans 5 teaches clearly: “When we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son” (Rom. 5:10). The central motif of the New Testament is the theme of reconciliation. Reconciliation is not necessary for those who love each other. God’s love for us is not in doubt. The shadow of doubt hangs over us. It is our love for God that is in question. The natural human mind, what the Bible calls the “carnal mind,” is at enmity with God.

(R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God, 253,254)

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Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace (p. 19):

Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace.
And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.

And from pp. 22-23:

Pharisee-type believers unconsciously think they have earned God’s blessing through their behavior.

Guilt-laden believers are quite sure they have forfeited God’s blessing through their lack of discipline or their disobedience.

Both have forgotten the meaning of grace because they have moved away from the gospel and have slipped into a performance relationship with God.

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-She is Christ’s bride and body (Eph. 5:22-33).
-She was purchased by Christ’s own blood (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:1; 25).
-She exists to glorify God (Eph. 3:10; 21).
-She provides accountability and encouragement for my family and I.
-She provides an opportunity to love and serve other sinners.
-She will kick me out if I live as an unbeliever.
-She provides the opportunity to utilize my spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12, 14).
-She is the pillar and buttress of the truth (1 Tim. 3:13).
-She displays the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10).
-She is my eternal family (Eph. 2:19-22).
-She reminds me of the gospel.
-She is built by Christ Himself (Matt. 16:18).
-She will never be defeated (Matt. 16:18).
-She is the dwelling place of God (Eph. 2:22).
-She nourishes my soul with the Word.

Source: http://pjcockrell.wordpress.com

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“When a sinner wanders into the church and sits through skits, mimes, interpretive dances, and the like, and yet never hears a clear, convicting message about his dangerous and tenuous spiritual situation– that he is a depraved sinner headed for an eternal fire because he is a daily offense to a holy God– how can that be called successful? You could achieve the same level of success by sending a cancer patient to receive treatment from a group of children playing doctor. A sinner must understand the imminent danger he is in if he is ever to look to the Savior. What’s worse is when seeker-focused churches baptize the masses with their watered-down gospel, assuring them that positive decisions, feelings, or affirmations about Christ equal genuine conversion. There are now multitudes who are not authentic Christians identifying with the church. As you set your strategy for church ministry, you dare not overlook the primary means of church growth: the straightforward, Christ-centered proclamation of the unadulterated Word of God.”

– John MacArthur

via www.pjcockrell.wordpress.com

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“[W]e must keep in mind that the Spirit of God is sovereign over when and how he works through the instruments of prayer. He certainly hears our requests and responds to them. But it’s not for us to question the purposes and actions of his sovereign will. Instead we’re to submit to and accept whatever he has for us. And as we respond to his answers to our prayers, we must continue to acknowledge our dependence on him through more prayer. As we cycle through our prayers and his answer in this way, our dependency grows. No wonder those who regularly practice this spiritual discipline often speak of there being power in prayer. The more prayer, the more dependency; the more dependency, the more power. The source of power is not the prayer; it is the Holy Spirit, who uses prayer as a means of grace through which he provides the power.”

 – Jerry Bridges & Bob Bevington,The Bookends of the Christian Life

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Memorizing Scripture is beneficial because it:

1.     Helps to renew your mind and change your thought life, establishing permanent change in your entire manner of life and conduct (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2-3).

2.     Follows the example of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:1-10).

3.     Equips you to use Scripture in everyday situations (for example: Acts 2:16-21, 25-28; 3:22-23; 13:40-41, 47).

4.     Allows God’s Word to be the foundation of your life (Deuteronomy 6:6-8).

5.     Provides guidance (Psalm 119:24, 105).

6.     Develops confidence in witnessing (Isaiah 55:11).

7.     Establishes a fountain to conquer temptation (for example: Matthew 4:1-10) and to gain victory over sin (Psalm 119:9-11).

8.     Becomes an integral part of your prayer life (for example: Acts 4:24-31).

9.     Enables you to teach, counsel, encourage, and build up others in the Body of Christ (Colossians 3:16).

10. Provides a basis for meditation On God’s Word (Psalm 119:15-16, 97).

11. Makes the Word of God readily available for comfort (Psalm 119:52).

12. Keeps God’s Word ready to refresh or revive (Psalm 119:93).

13. Provides stability in your spiritual life (Psalm 37:31; 40:8).

14. Gives you the truth so that, at times of need, you are ready to answer others concerning your source of hope (Proverbs 22:17-21; 1 Peter 3:15).

 –Biblical Counseling Foundation

Source: www.thegracetabernacle.org

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